November 19th is International Survivors of Suicide Day. Not exactly a joyous event, but necessary. (To be clear, it is for those left behind when a loved one has killed him/herself.)
One cannot possibly imagine the loneliness of being a survivor (unless you are one). It is a death which few if any are willing to speak about. The person you love is not mentioned or remembered openly by those around you. For me, there was life before and life after and the two lives will always be separated by the one act. Beyond the pain of any unexpected sudden death there is the guilt. And all the well meaning words cannot erase the fact that deep down, you know, there is a chance you could have done something.
I truly believe that if my brother had known the pain he would cause us he would never have done it.
So if you know someone who lost a loved one to suicide, do them a favor and ask them how they are doing. Talk about their loved one. Let’s erase the stigma of suicide that so prevents those who are thinking about killing themselves from even seeking help.